Rep. Sean Casten wins 6th District Democratic primary, topping fellow incumbent Marie Newman

CBS Chicago
CBS Chicago

COUNTRYSIDE, Ill. (CBS) -- U.S. Rep. Sean Casten won the Democratic primary for the redrawn 6th Congressional District Tuesday evening.

Casten fended off a challenge from Rep. Marie Newman – who now represents the 3rd Illinois Congressional District, but instead ran in the 6th after the 3rd was redrawn.

Casten won 63 percent of the vote compared with 33 percent for Newman, and 4 percent for third candidate Charles Hughes.

From the south, the rewdrawn district includes Orland Park, Alsip, and Oak Lawn, and it goes as far west as parts of Wheaton up to Lombard and Elmhurst. The district used to extend north into McHenry and western Lake counties.

Casten essentially stopped campaigning after the death of his 17-year-old daughter, Gwen, earlier this month. He did not have a victory party, but he did release a statement reading in part:

"In the conversations I had with folks across the district, I found that we have a shared set of values, and voters wanted someone in Congress who would not only stand up and fight for those values, but live up to them. The 6th District is full of people who trust science, believe in democracy, and know that we are only as good as the world we leave to our children.

"We flipped the 6th District in 2018 because of the hard work of the thousands of volunteers who knocked on doors, made phone calls, and did everything they could to show the country what the values of the 6th District truly were. Then, in 2020, we rejected racism and bigotry and chose science, compassion, decency, acceptance, and love.

"Tonight, the people of the 6th District sent a resounding message. We have been given a mandate to continue our fight against the climate crisis, to end gun violence, to lower costs for families, and to protect every woman's right to make her own health care decisions."

In delivering a concession speech outside her campaign headquarters in Countryside, Newman congratulated and endorsed Casten Tuesday evening -- before inviting supporters to drown their sorrows in a tent with lots of beer.

"While this is not the result we wanted, we now have to unite – and I know that's going to hurt a little bit for some folks, but I really need you to do it, because the Democratic Party needs you – and we all need to be together," Newman said.

Casten and Newman had been allies for years as members of the Illinois Democratic caucus.

In the Republican primary for the 6th Congressional District seat, Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau was ahead late Tuesday, with 39 percent of the vote compared with 13,665 for former Burr Ridge Mayor Gary Grasso.

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